Coast Guard officials at Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach have issued a warning about SEE-Me 1.0 LED PFD lights, after finding 11 non-compliant ones with their bottoms missing, cracked or bulging. The lights are manufactured by AOB Outdoor Products & Accessories Inc. and may be labeled as Model 51150 or strobe Model 51152. Both models use two customer-supplied AAA alkaline or lithium batteries. The affected lights all used alkaline batteries, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard report said the insulating seals at the end of the battery breached, allowing potassium hydroxide to escape and react with the air in the device, causing potassium carbonate to form. Leaks occurred due to either self-discharge, in which the stored charge was reduced due to an internal chemical reaction within the affected batteries, or the affected batteries surpassed the manufacturer’s recommended storage life and/or storage conditions, the Coast Guard report said.
AOB is recommending use of Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries, which are considerably more leakproof than alkaline batteries. These batteries also outperform alkaline in extreme temperature conditions and have a longer shelf life than alkaline batteries. AOB also recommended that prior to storing the SEE-Me 1.0 PFD Light that users remove depleted batteries and replace with new ones to avoid degradation during storage.
The Coast Guard recommends that those using any PFD lights store the lights where they will not be exposed to extreme temperatures or saltwater and that manufacturer-recommended batteries are used for optimal life of the equipment.
The safety alert was developed by the Coast Guard Office of Design and Engineering standards and Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis. Questions and comments on this equipment should be sent to HQS-pf-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.